March price rises: stamps, energy bills, driving penalties, mobile bills and more

March price rises: stamps, energy bills, driving penalties, mobile bills and more

Find out what will cost you more this month and how to beat the hikes.

Reena Sewraz

Household money

Reena Sewraz
Updated on 1 March 2017

There are a number of price hikes that will impact your bank balance in March.

Here are the main ones you need to know about and what to do about them.


The cost of Sky phone, broadband and TV is rising for certain customers from today (1 March 2017).

The cost of line rental is increasing from £17.40 to £18.99 for Sky phone and broadband customers but not those on a landline-only deals.

Sky TV, phone and broadband customers on older tariffs, which now cost more for new customers, will see an average increase of just under £3 a month to bring prices in line with new deals.

If you are outside the minimum term of your contract you will be able to switch penalty-free. Compare deals using broadbandchoices.

If you are locked into a deal and on a Sky phone and broadband deal you may also be able to cancel penalty-free as long as you give Sky 30 days’ notice of receiving your price change notification.

Those that are still locked into a Sky TV contract won’t be able to leave penalty-free as a result of the price changes, but you should check what these are and weigh up if they are worth paying to save on a new deal.

You should also have a read of our guide to cutting your monthly Sky bills.


The penalty points and fine for motorists caught using their hand held mobile phone at the wheel will double from today (1 March) in England, Scotland and Wales.

Drivers were issued with three points and ordered to pay a £100 fine but now ill face six points and must hand over a hefty £200 for the offence.

The change means newly-qualified drivers will lose their licence if caught committing the offence as drivers are automatically disqualified if they accrue six points within the first two years of passing their test.

Other drivers caught using their mobile on two occasions, or who get 12 points on their licence, will face magistrates’ court, disqualification and fines of up to £1,000.

Police forces across the country will be increasing the number of patrols on the road to crack down on mobile phones being used while driving until 7 March.

In January, a coordinated national enforcement week of this kind saw 3,600 drivers handed penalties.

Make sure you're familiar with the rules so you don’t fall foul of the rules.

Mobile phones, as well as other electronic devices like iPod, tablets and digital cameras, are not allowed to be used while driving or even when you’ve come to a temporary stop at traffic lights.

If you want to use a device, you will need to stop and make sure your engine is switched off. If using your mobile phone as a sat nav you will need to programme it before you start the car.

Energy tariffs

Two energy companies are planning to hike prices in March.

Npower will increase the cost of its standard electricity tariff by a whopping 15% and gas prices by 4.8% from 16 March. The change will see an annual dual fuel bill rise by an average of 9.8%, or £109.

Scottish Power is hiking the cost of electricity by 10.8% and gas by 4.7% on 31 March 2017. For those on a dual fuel standard rate tariff a typically bill will rise 7.8% or £86 a year.

If you are sitting on your provider’s standard tariff you will be paying more than you need to and are vulnerable to price rises like these. Switch to a new deal today, compare the best tariffs for you using the loveMONEY energy companion centre.


Royal Mail is putting the cost of stamps up from 27 March.

The price of a First Class stamp will rise by 1p to 65p and the price of a Second Class stamp will also go up 1p taking the cost to 56p.

In addition, the price of a Large Letter First Class stamp will be hiked 2p to 98p and a Large Letter Second Class stamp will rise by 1p to 76p.

Royal Mail has said the increases are necessary to keep the Universal Postal Service – which ensures postal services are offered at a uniform cost across the UK – going.

You can beat the rises by stocking up on the stamps you think you will need over the course of the year for things like sending birthday and Christmas cards.

Alternately, you could use a cashback credit card to save money on your everyday spending.

Mobile bills

EE is hiking prices by 2.5% from 30 March 2017.

The rise is in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation for January 2017, which means if you are within the minimum term of your contract you won’t be able to switch penalty-free.

However, if you are outside the term of your contract you can compare prices for a new deal with Recombu.

Just bear in mind that other networks are planning to put their prices up later this year.

O2 will hike the cost of pay monthly and SIM-only deals by 2.6% in April.

Vodafone says it will also put prices up for pay monthly and SIM-only customers in April in line with February’s RPI figure announced in March.

Three has not said if it will apply an RPI price hike, but hasn’t ruled one out.

Read: How to cancel a UK mobile phone contract and switch providers for more.

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